One of the first lessons I can remember learning in Professor Olson’s Intro to Advertising class is that when developing an ad campaign, one must always take into consideration who the audience is. The famous example that paired with this lesson was the “Chevy Nova” campaign which didn’t quite translate positively in Spanish – “Chevy Nova” = “Chevy doesn’t go.” Interestingly enough, a similar scenario surfaced while working at my internship this week.
One of our biggest clients at MOD Worldwide is the fabulous Boyd’s Department Store, located right at 1818 Chestnut Street, which is famous for its regal blue awnings and sophisticated, high-fashion inventory. MOD is currently in the lengthy process of updating Boyd’s spring website, which naturally features both men’s and women’s fashion garments. On the landing page for the Men’s section of the website, an attractive photo of a male is displayed with a clever headline that read, “Spring Styles She’ll Swoon Over”. It sounded pretty fitting to us.
The only problem was, as pointed out by the marketing director at Boyd’s, male shoppers at Boyd’s aren’t solely heterosexual. She felt the headline excluded a large percentage of their gay male customer base, and requested the line be changed to something less gender-specific. And why shouldn’t it? It was a simple detail so minute to our employees, yet a detail nonetheless that could make a difference to someone viewing the site.
We are taught that advertising cannot be “all things to everyone.” However, it is important to, in every possible aspect, consider who will be viewing what you’re putting out there, and how they may react to it.